Bedford Historic District
In its third century of history, Bedford has maintained a small-town charm and elegance with its historic sites. Established as the town of Liberty in 1782, Bedford quickly became well known as the county seat and as a center for the production and distribution of tobacco, corn, wool, textiles and synthetic rubber products. Most of Bedford’s structures were built in the 1880’s and 1890’s, replacing the wooden buildings lost in a fire in 1884. The primary architecture reflects the Victorian era’s Italianate style with ornate window details and a wide variety of arches and decorative cornices. In contrast to the elaborate Victorian buildings, Bedford also boasts a number of Classical Revival buildings, elegant in the simplicity of their design.
The care and preservation of our Central Business District was rewarded by Bedford being selected as one of the first Virginia Main Street Communities in 1985. Enjoy walking around against a backdrop of the beautiful Peaks of Otter: then you will understand why Centertown is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Visit the unique shops, the Bedford City/County Museum and the Farmer’s Market. For additional information on Centertown Bedford and the Historic District, contact Bedford Main Street at 540-586-2148 or visit www.centertownbedford.com
Rising out of the Blue Ridge Mountains, two prominent peaks stand out against the sky giving Bedford one of the most beautiful backdrops in Virginia. In addition to Harkening Hill, these peaks, known as Sharp Top and Flat Top, were once home to Native Americans of 10,000 B.C. As a part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Peaks of Otter (Milepost 86), offers hiking trails, wildflower walks, group or individual picnic areas, fishing, campgrounds and a beautiful lodge and restaurant facility open year-round. Visitors can hike or take the guided bus tour to the peak of Sharp Top or hike to the restored Johnson Farm and experience southern mountain life during the 19th century. Contact the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center at 540-586-4496 or 877-HI-PEAKS (toll-free) For the information on the Peaks of Otter Restaurant and Lodge, call 800-542-5927 or 877-HI-PEAKS or visit www.peaksofotter.com.
The Peaks are located 11 miles from Centertown Bedford. Call the Blue Ridge Parkway Information line toll-free at 1-828-298-0398 for a recorded message about the parkway and current road conditions.
Hunter’s Raid Civil War Trail
On May 26, 1864, Union Gen. David Hunter marched south from Cedar Creek near Winchester to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley, and destroy the railroads at Lynchburg. His raid was part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s strategy to attack Confederates simultaneously throughout Virginia. After defeating Gen. William E. “Grumble” Jones at Piedmont on June 5, Hunter marched to Lexington, burned Virginia Military Institute, and headed to Lynchburg. There, on June 17-18, Gen. Jubal A. Early repulsed Hunter and pursued him to West Virginia. Early then turned north in July to threaten Washington.
With the help of Virginia Civil War Trails markers and this driving map you can travel along the route of Hunter’s Raid and visit many of sites associated with that 1864 raid, as well as other Civil War places of interest. The route also features some of the most beautiful landscapes and vistas to be found in the Commonwealth of Virginia .
There are multiple historial markers in and around Bedford. For more information, visit www.huntersraid.org
The Appalachian Trail
From Georgia to Maine, with Bedford, VA, as the perfect resting place: this is the famous Appalachian Trail. Near Bedford, it meanders through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Washington-Jefferson National Forest, offering some of the most striking scenery anywhere. From Bedford, access the AT at Milepost 91 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.